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Shanghai returns to partial COVID-19 lockdown to control new cases

Residents are seen in Shanghai, China, during the two-month COVID-19 lockdown on May 9. The city emerged from a full lockdown on June 1, but certain parts resumed restrictions on Thursday as part of a policy to quickly control new viral transmissions. File Photo by Alex Plavevski/EPA-EFE
Residents are seen in Shanghai, China, during the two-month COVID-19 lockdown on May 9. The city emerged from a full lockdown on June 1, but certain parts resumed restrictions on Thursday as part of a policy to quickly control new viral transmissions. File Photo by Alex Plavevski/EPA-EFE

June 9 (UPI) -- Parts of Shanghai went under new COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on Thursday as part of a "Zero COVID" policy intended to quickly control new transmissions, only weeks after the Chinese economic hub eased most restrictions related to the pandemic.

Parts of the city, including entertainment venues, returned to the lockdown -- as did some parts in Beijing -- due to a recent rise in coronavirus cases.

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Shanghai also ordered a new round of testing for millions of residents there. Some districts in both cities were put on "high alert" after health officials saw an increase in cases.

While Thursday's return is short of a full lockdown, the alert renewed fears that even stricter measures might soon be necessary.

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Shanghai's Minhang district said all 2 million residents will take nucleic acid tests this weekend and are being told to remain at home until further notice. The new outbreak has been traced to a well-known beauty parlor in the city that had reopened only a week ago.

In Beijing, officials also shut down entertainment venues in its most populous district.

"The closure will be lifted after samples have been collected," the district said according to The Guardian.

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China, which has a COVID-19 infection rate that's still low compared to other countries, has adopted a "zero-COVID" policy that's mainly aimed at protecting elderly residents and the Chinese medical system. Under the policy, new cases are isolated and close contacts, which can also include an entire building or community where they live, are required to quarantine.

Shanghai was under full lockdown for two months before it eased restrictions on June 1. Many businesses were closed during the lockdown and most of the city's 26 million residents were required to quarantine inside their homes.

""Everyone has sacrificed a lot. This day has been hard-won, and we need to cherish and protect it, and welcome back the Shanghai we are familiar with and missed," Shanghai government spokeswoman Yin Xin said shortly before the rules were lifted.

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"This is a day that we dreamed of for a very long time."

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